As we enter the height of peak season for global mobility, a friendly reminder that anticipating delays with early planning and reasonable expectations can help reduce stress and accomplish relocation goals. The pandemic continuing to disrupt interstate and international moving services at a remarkable level, it's clear that staying informed and planning well in advance remains the best option for achieving satisfactory outcomes when relocating your talent. Current household goods and shipping trends show an increase in shipping timelines and regional port challenges, labor shortages, and rising fuel prices impacting direct costs for moving services.
Two of our service partners, Champion International Moving Company (Champion) and Interconex Global Moving Solutions (Interconex), helped us gain a little more perspective on what many in the industry are calling “The Perfect Storm” for global supply chain disruption.
Champion International Moving Company indicated that long transit times should continue throughout the summer. Setting this expectation with relocating employees is equally as important as booking the move early. Rush moves will become increasingly difficult to accommodate.
Interconex Global Moving Solutions is seeing an increased need for servicing smaller shipments and believes this trend will be in demand for some time. Interconex also states that as much lead time as possible will significantly improve a transferee’s chance of obtaining the move dates they want.
Port Challenges and Labor Shortages
The increases in international shipping timelines for household goods is directly due to regional port challenges. In March 2022, new Covid lockdowns in Shanghai increased port congestion and delays. Even as China begins to reopen, Champion points out a significant backlog with high volumes of shipping containers still waiting in these ports.
According to MarineTraffic and Blume Global data, the Port of Oakland tops the list of congested ports; West Coast containers are waiting almost eleven days in the dock before transportation. These delays and the war in Ukraine will likely cause problems at other significant ports worldwide, directly affecting global mobility.
Another concern with container ships at congested ports is that they do not have the sheer numbers of workers needed to unload them. Many global supply chains have been offering port workers perks and large bonuses to alleviate the labor shortage. Additionally, Champion estimates a deficit of over 3,000 drivers in Europe due to the fighting within the war-torn region of Ukraine. To compensate for this significant shortage, the household goods industry is working to obtain skilled labor from other regions within Europe to fill the driver shortage.
Oil and gas costs are at record highs; the impacts are throughout the world and the global economy. With the disruption of Russian oil exports, the world is facing more demand without increased supply. In turn, the need for peak season moves will only drive higher prices.
Weathering the Storm
NEI will stay on top of escalating issues to keep our clients informed of current industry challenges and bring awareness to trends and concerns experienced by our service partners. The careful planning and clear expectations that NEI and our service partners set with transferees will help us all weather the storm. Any reinforcement of the current conditions from our clients to their relocating employees would also be greatly appreciated.
Jason Paschel, Champion, said, “It’s a perfect storm. While there is no denying the impact, please know the industry is working tirelessly to mitigate that impact.”
Should you wish to further discuss how to best plan for peak season volume and the additional issues facing the industry, please reach out to your NEI representative any time.